Let’s Talk About Feelings

Fat Wreck Chords

On what is surely some of the most poignant cover art seen this year, a bespectacled, adolescent mess of a teenage girl, frizzy hair caught in plastic barrettes, grinning wide to reveal a mouth full of braces, proclaims the earnest request of Lagwagon’s new record, Let’s Talk About Feelings. And talk about feelings, they do. Having progressed beyond their reputation as a hardcore unit, this southern California band’s latest offering achieves an incredible balance of intense, personal emotions and political views wrapped inside enigmatic lyrics and buoyed by deceptively cheerful-sounding pop-punk melodies. It’s hilarious and appropriate that “Change Despair” kicks off with a dialogue clip from Welcome to the Dollhouse, as Lagwagon are the Dawn Weiners of punk rock; producing indelible, three-minute memories culled from numerous schoolyard beatings, personal tragedies and romantic rejections. A few cuts tackling post-break-up scenarios show a particular lyrical maturity. “After You My Friend” slips into a brief, bossa nova interlude before singer Joey Cape rattles off poetic intimacies like “Fools in love are arrogant/Their sermons cloud his breathing air/He’s in love with an isolation from emotion.” Lagwagon even manage to cover Agent Orange’s “Everything Turns Grey” and make it their own fierce anthem of despair. Recommended listening for those who find themselves attracted to dark lyrical messages of bands like the Adolescents, but also enjoy the frenetic energy of Green Day and Weston. Fat Wreck Chords, P.O. Box 193690, San Francisco, CA 94119-3690

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